Williams v. The County of Alameda et al

Filing 9

ORDER DISMISSING CASE AND DENYING CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY. Signed by Judge James Donato on 1/9/18. (lrcS, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 1/9/2018)

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1 2 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 3 NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 4 5 CHARLES RAY WILLIAMS, Petitioner, 6 7 8 9 Case No. 17-cv-04785-JD v. THE COUNTY OF ALAMEDA, et al., ORDER DISMISSING CASE AND DENYING CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY Respondent. 10 United States District Court Northern District of California 11 Charles Ray Williams, a civil detainee, filed a pro se petition for a writ of habeas corpus 12 pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241. Petitioner challenges the ongoing proceedings in Alameda County 13 Superior Court to civilly commit him under California’s Sexually Violent Predator Act (“SVPA”), 14 see Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 6600 et seq. Petitioner was ordered to show cause why Younger 15 abstention does not apply and why this case should not be dismissed. He has filed a response. DISCUSSION 16 17 STANDARD OF REVIEW 18 The Court may entertain a petition for writ of habeas corpus from a person claiming to be 19 20 “in custody in violation of the Constitution or laws or treaties of the United States.” 28 U.S.C. § 2241(c)(3). A district court considering an application for a writ of habeas corpus shall “award the 21 writ or issue an order directing the respondent to show cause why the writ should not be granted, 22 unless it appears from the application that the applicant or person detained is not entitled thereto.” 23 28 U.S.C. § 2243. 24 25 26 Section 2241 allows “the Supreme Court, any justice thereof, the district courts and any circuit judge” to grant writs of habeas corpus “within their respective jurisdictions.” 28 U.S.C. § 2241(a). A habeas petition under § 2241 is the appropriate vehicle for a challenge to a person’s 27 detention when the person is in custody, but not pursuant to the judgment of a state court, e.g., it is 28 1 the appropriate basis for a challenge to detention by a pretrial detainee. See Hoyle v. Ada County, 2 501 F.3d 1053, 1058 (9th Cir. 2007). 3 LEGAL CLAIMS 4 It appears from the petition that petitioner has not yet been found to be a sexually violent 5 predator and the commitment proceedings are ongoing. Petitioner argues that there have been 6 many due process violations in the proceedings against him and his public defender is 7 incompetent. For relief, petitioner seeks a new attorney, money damages and to be transferred to a 8 different state hospital and receive different care. 9 A federal court generally will not enjoin or directly intercede in ongoing state court 10 proceedings absent extraordinary circumstances. Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37, 40-41, 43-45 11 United States District Court Northern District of California (1971). Federal courts will abstain if the state proceeding 1) is currently pending, 2) involves an 12 important state interest, and 3) affords the petitioner an adequate opportunity to raise constitutional 13 claims. Middlesex County Ethics Committee v. Garden State Bar Ass’n., 457 U.S. 423, 432 14 (1982). For abstention to be appropriate, the federal court action must enjoin the state proceeding 15 or have the practical effect of doing so by interfering in a way that Younger disapproves. 16 Gilbertson v. Albright, 381 F.3d 965, 977-78 (9th Cir. 2004) (en banc). This principle of 17 abstention has been applied to collateral attacks on criminal convictions; federal habeas corpus 18 does not lie, absent special circumstances, to adjudicate the merits of a state criminal charge prior 19 to a judgment of conviction by a state court, Braden v. 30th Judicial Circuit Court of Kentucky, 20 410 U.S. 484, 489 (1973), or even during the time a case is on appeal in the state courts, New 21 Orleans Pub. Serv., Inc. v. Council of City of New Orleans, 491 U.S. 350, 369 (1989). This 22 principle has also been applied to pending state civil proceedings where important state interests 23 are at stake. Middlesex County Ethics Committee, 457 U.S. at 432; Moore v. Sims, 442 U.S. 415, 24 423 (1979) (pending child custody proceeding); Huffman v. Pursue, Ltd., 420 U.S. 592, 604 25 (1975) (pending nuisance action). 26 SVPA proceedings involve important state interests. The importance of a state’s interest 27 may be shown by a close relationship between noncriminal proceedings to proceedings that are 28 2 1 criminal in nature. Middlesex County Ethics Comm., 457 U.S. at 432. The SVPA proceedings are 2 closely related to proceedings that are criminal in nature and involve state interests of protection of 3 the public and mental health treatment, which under California law are considered to be 4 compelling, Hubbart v. Superior Court, 19 Cal. 4th 1138, 1153 n. 20 (1999), and are the types of 5 interests categorized as legitimate and important under federal authority, Dept. of Revenue of Ky. 6 v. Davis, 553 U.S. 328, 340 (2008) (health, safety and welfare of citizens); Hill v. Colorado, 530 7 U.S. 703, 715 (2000) (traditional police power of the state to protect the health and safety of 8 citizens). Specifically, the Younger abstention principles have been applied to SVPA 9 proceedings. See, Smith v. Plummer, 458 Fed. Appx. 642, 643 (9th Cir. Nov. 15, 2011) (unpublished); Cruz v. Ahlin, 2011 WL 5290092, at *3 (C.D.Cal. Aug. 24, 2011) (unpublished) 11 United States District Court Northern District of California 10 (collecting cases). 12 To the extent that petitioner seeks different care at Coalinga Hospital; he must file a civil 13 rights action in the Eastern District of California. Petitioner is informed that money damages are 14 not available in habeas proceedings. With respect to his request for this Court to interfere in 15 ongoing state proceedings, he has failed to demonstrate extraordinary circumstances to warrant 16 intervention. He states that his public defender has failed to ask appropriate questions and has not 17 helped him receive appropriate treatment. His requests related to treatment must be filed in a civil 18 rights action. That he feels his public defender is not performing adequately does not justify 19 federal court intervention. CONCLUSION 20 21 1. The petition is DISMISSED for the reasons set forth above. 22 2. Because reasonable jurists would not find the result here debatable, a certificate of 23 24 25 appealability (“COA”) is DENIED. See Slack v. McDaniel, 529 U.S. 473, 484-85 (2000). IT IS SO ORDERED. Dated: January 9, 2018 26 27 JAMES DONATO United States District Judge 28 3 1 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 2 NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 3 4 CHARLES RAY WILLIAMS, Case No. 17-cv-04785-JD Plaintiff, 5 v. CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE 6 7 THE COUNTY OF ALAMEDA, et al., Defendants. 8 9 10 I, the undersigned, hereby certify that I am an employee in the Office of the Clerk, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California. United States District Court Northern District of California 11 12 13 14 15 That on January 9, 2018, I SERVED a true and correct copy(ies) of the attached, by placing said copy(ies) in a postage paid envelope addressed to the person(s) hereinafter listed, by depositing said envelope in the U.S. Mail, or by placing said copy(ies) into an inter-office delivery receptacle located in the Clerk's office. 16 17 18 19 Charles Ray Williams ID: CO#:000581-9 Pleasant Valley State Prison 24511 W. Jayne Avenue P.O. Box 5003, Unit 14 Coalinga, CA 93210-5003 20 21 Dated: January 9, 2018 22 23 24 Susan Y. Soong Clerk, United States District Court 25 26 27 By:________________________ LISA R. CLARK, Deputy Clerk to the Honorable JAMES DONATO 28 4

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